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Phyllis Danley Kunze, long-time CEO of the East Central Credit Union in Ada, has been named executive director of the East Central University Foundation Inc.

Kunze will oversee the foundation's approximately $20 million in assets and its fundraising activities. Interest income earned from endowments and donations to the foundation provides numerous scholarships to ECU students. The foundation, which was organized in 1970, also raises funds to assist with other needs of the university.

Gifts to the foundation have helped complete the Hallie Brown Ford Fine Arts Center and the Pat O'Neal Strength and Conditioning Center, furnish the new Linscheid Library, construct the Frank Crabtree Sr. Honor Plaza, and restore the President's Home and construct the Sterling L. Williams Foundation and Alumni Center "

The Search Committee felt Phyllis Kunze's organizational skills, accounting skills and knowledge of ECU were just exactly what we were looking for," said Angela Ables, chairperson of the foundation's Executive Committee. "She is a high-energy, smart, gifted individual and we are delighted to have her head up the foundation.

"Her love of ECU and the work ECU does for students is unequaled, which was an additional reason we felt she met the qualifications we needed. We are really pleased to have her as we feel the foundation is in good hands," Ables added.

Kunze also has served on the ECU Foundation's board of trustees and the Executive Committee.

She is the daughter of the late Dr. James O. Danley and the late Wanita Danley-Plunk.

Danley, who died in 1980, was chairman of the Mathematics Department and ECU's first dean of graduate studies and continuing education. Danley Hall, site of the original Linscheid Library, was renamed in his honor after major renovations were completed in 2003.

Wanita Danley-Plunk taught in the Education Department for more than a decade before retiring in 1994. She died in 2007.

"ECU has been an integral part of my life for over 50 years," Kunze said, "and working for the foundation is an exciting and fulfilling way to give back to the university and to enrich my family's heritage."

Kunze, her parents, her brother, Forrest Danley, and sister, the late Mari Lea Davis, all graduated from ECU. Kunze received a bachelor's degree in business education in 1973.

She succeeds Mickey Cowan as executive director. Cowan was the treasurer of the East Central Credit Union when Kunze became its first full-time employee in 1982. She was the office manager until 1995 when Cowan retired and she was named CEO.

The ECCU grew from 300 members and assets of $600,000 in 1982 to 1,300 members and assets of $2.2 million in 1995 when she became CEO. In 2008 the credit union had 3,300 members and $7.5 million in assets.

Kunze was instrumental in adding new services to the ECCU and implementing an extensive policy and procedure process. She also established three scholarships from the credit union to aid students attending ECU.

She received the 2007 Oklahoma Credit Union Professional of the Year Distinguished Service Award for promoting the credit union philosophy of "people helping people" and for demonstrating professionalism in both work and community endeavors.

Kunze was the founder of the Innovative Credit Union Network, an organization devoted to small credit unions with less than $35 million is assets. She is a member of the Credit Union National Association's Small Credit Union Committee for 2009-10 and the Oklahoma State Credit Union's Rules Review Committee.

She is a board member of the Ada Arts and Heritage Authority, Ada Senior Care Center and the ECU Women's Club and a member of the steering committee for the Arts District of Ada. She is an advisory member and loan officer for the Chickasaw Nation Small Business Development Center and Community Development Financial Institution.

Kunze and her husband, Jim, attend Central Church of Christ.

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